By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus-borne illness COVID-19 climbed above 215,000 on Tuesday, after President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail with a rally in Florida late Monday, at which he again claimed to be “immune” to the virus.
Trump said he was fully recovered from the coronavirus, after his White House doctor, Sean Conley, said Trump tested negative on two consecutive days, based on a rapid test that health experts say is not intended for that purpose.
Dr. Vin Gupta, affiliate assistant professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington,told MSNBC it’s “absolutely likely” that Trump was shedding virus on the stage at the Florida rally, where his supporters had gathered closely, the majority without wearing face masks.
Gupta criticized Trump’s staff and advisers for “not actually leveling with us and giving us the right information on the right type of test.”
“They know, They know what the right type of test is. The Abbott /zigman2/quotes/203724446/composite ABT -0.0084% test is not the right type of test, absolutely [not]. He should be adhering to guidelines, and they are trying to concoct a narrative to justify why he’s out there, and it’s wrong,” Gupta said in an interview.
From the archives (July 3): Masks optional, no social distancing on agenda for Trump fireworks event at Mount Rushmore
Trump also promised a vaccine would be distributed very soon, even though none has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and companies developing vaccines are still conducting Phase 3 trials, which are not expected to produce conclusive data for weeks.
The U.S. counted 45,929 new cases on Monday and at least 351 deaths, according to a New York Times tracker. In the past week, there have been average of 50,493 new cases a day, up 19% from the average two weeks ago.
A full 17 states — Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — set records for new cases, according to a Washington Post analysis.
With 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. has had 7.8 million cases, or about 20% of the global tally of 37.9 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. death toll now stands at 215,439, more than 20% of the global death toll of 1.08 million.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases and a man deemed one of the leading experts on the pandemic, had warned ahead of Monday’s rally in Sanford, Fla., that it was “asking for trouble” given the rise in cases across so many states.
In an interview with CNN, Fauci said Americans need to be more cautious now that cold weather is arriving, and should be “doubling down" on safety measures, instead of ignoring them.
In other news:
• People of color should be overrepresented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, as they are most affected by the deadly illness, Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency-room physician who studies racism and sexism in medicine, told MarketWatch’s Jaimy Lee. In the latest installment of MarketWatch’s “A Word from the Experts” series, Choo cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show that Native Americans are 2.8 times more likely to contract the virus and 5.3 more times likely to be hospitalized; Black Americans are 4.7 more times likely to be hospitalized and 2.1 times more likely to die; and Hispanic people in the U.S. are 2.8 times more likely to contract the virus and 4.6 times more likely to end up in the hospital. “Balanced representation should be disproportionate representation of Black and brown people, because they’re more affected by the disease,” she said. “Investors should be really asking them, what are your plans so that this is as widely disseminated as possible.”